Holiday Home Security and Safety Series: Thanksgiving Away-From-Home Safety
Crime doesn’t take a break for the holidays.
In fact, statistics show most burglaries are residential (74.5% of all burglaries in 2011, according to the FBI), and incidences of these crimes spike during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. The fact that people are away from home, coupled with a struggling economy and the desire for money for holiday shopping, contribute to the increase in property crimes.
That’s why we at American Alarm encourage you to take extra steps to ensure your home is secure during the holiday season, particularly if you’re traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday.
A home security system is at the top of our list for keeping your home secure. American Alarm home security systems connect to our 24-Hour Security Command Center. If the alarm is triggered, the command center can alert police of a potential holiday break-in.
If you’ve just installed a new system, take some time to become familiar with its features before you leave on vacation.
Here are some additional tips to keep your home safe during the holidays provided by The Money Pit and The Greenville, S.C. Department of Police.
- Close the blinds to prevent anyone from seeing into your home. Leaving the blinds open is an invitation to some unwanted window shopping, and it also makes it easier for criminals to determine if you’re home.
- Place timers on your lights to make it look like someone is home. Use at least one timer per floor, in the living room or a bedroom. Keep the lights on from about 9 p.m. until about 1 a.m.
- Keep the exterior of your home well lit. Use motion-detector spotlights, which are activated when movement is detected.
- Ask a trusted neighbor to take in your mail and newspapers. This is a better option than stopping mail/newspaper delivery, as you’ll be alerting someone at either office that you will be away.
- Most police departments will take extra steps to watch your home if you alert them you are going to be away. Call your local police department and ask about this service.
- It should go without saying to lock all windows and doors before you leave on vacation, or anytime you’re away from home. Burglars often gain entry through unlocked windows or doors. Take the time to write yourself a note reminding you to check that the windows and doors are locked before you leave.
- Hire someone to shovel the driveway. Ask a neighbor to park his car in your driveway. Plan multiple ways to ensure your home never looks vacant.
- Install deadbolts, if you don’t have them already, on all exterior doors. Handle locks are easily picked with a credit card, while it takes more strength to break a deadbolt. Newer deadbolt models offer mechanisms to lock out duplicate keys when activated. So if you’re away from town, you can activate it, preventing housekeepers and others with keys to your home from accessing your home.
- A deadbolt is not enough. A strong door AND a deadbolt provides the best protection against intrusion. Fiberglass doors are stronger than wood doors. Install a patio bar on sliding doors to keep the door from sliding back, even if the lock is broken.
- A cheap security tool for windows? Place a dowel rod (available at craft stores) inside the window frame; paint it the same color as your trim.
- Refrain from hiding spare keys around the house. Most burglars know to look underneath mats, above doors and under plants for keys.
- Don’t broadcast your travel plans. Only tell a few trusted neighbors. Don’t change your voice mail message to indicate that you’re out of town. Don’t discuss travel plans on social media sites.
You should also consider adding a home fire alarm system in addition to a home alarm system. American Alarm hard-wired smoke, heat and carbon monoxide detectors are also monitored by our 24-Hour Security Command Center. When you’re traveling, you can have peace of mind knowing your home is secured and protected in every way.
Have a great Thanksgiving and a super holiday season. But remember, crime never takes a holiday.
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